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Staff Picks for Young Adult
In this graphic novel, teenager Anya falls down an abandoned well and meets a ghost, who becomes her constant companion. At first this is great; the ghost helps Anya track the movements of the jock she has a crush on, become a part of the cool kidsí social scene, and with school tests (O.K., technically, the ghost helps Anya cheat during school tests). However, as time goes by, Anya begins to wonder if those are the things that are really important. This is definitely a ghost story, with a scary side, but Brosgol also humorously and completely realistically captures the various indignities and insecurities of high school, and the monochromatic illustrations (my favorite part) are fantastic.
Recommended by Catherine
What happens when 50 teenage beauty contestants crash onto a desert island? A hilarious cross between Lord of the Flies and the Miss Teen USA pageant. Donít worry, thatís a good thing. The girls must decide whether to keep prepping for the pageant, even when rescue seems hopeless, or learn how to survive in the wild. Plus, there is something not quite right with the island. It might not be so deserted after all!
Available as a book, audiobook or downloadable audiobook.
Recommended by Kate
Thereís something to be said for books that in addition to being short, or a quick read, are also small in dimension. Like a great gift in a small package, Horse, Flower, Bird is a wildly original short work featuring a sparse style of prose that disarms the reader just enough for the well-crafted lines to pack their punch. Part fractured-fairy tale, part dream diary, let this collection, small enough to pack along anywhere, take you on a daydream adventure.
Recommended by Jonas
Scorpio Races is a fantasy novel about horse-racing, romance and sea monsters. Set on a small island reminiscent of the Northern U.K. the story draws from Celtic mythology. However, this is so much more than a fairy tale re-hashing. The story is gripping and a little haunting. If you enjoyed the Hunger Games series or the October Daye (urban fantasy) series you might enjoy this book.
Recommended by Alli
In a northern land gripped by an endless winter, a girl known only to friends and family as ďthe lassĒ yearns to help her family in any way that she can. Most important to the lass is her oldest brotherís happiness, stripped away after he came back from working on the seas. One day the family is approached with an interesting proposition: if the lass agrees to go away and live in a castle for one year, her family will earn all the riches they desire. There is only one catch: this proposal is offered by a great white bear, who canít explain why he wants the lass to live with him. The lass agrees, and soon she is whisked away to live in a giant ice castle staffed with magical creatures. Only something isnít right, and while the lass has everything she could want, she feels there is more to the story than the bear is telling her. Those familiar with the fairy tale ďEast of the Sun, West of the MoonĒ will know what happens next, everyone else will be delighted with this fast paced tale.
Recommended by Kate
Two young sisters are the only survivors after a mysterious illness kills the rest of their village. Together they set off through a treacherous land in search of other survivors. Is this the latest post-apocalyptic speculative fiction? Unfortunately, no. The Great Death is set in Alaska in early 1900s when a worldwide pandemic killed an estimated sixty to seventy percent of the Alaska Native population. The characters are inspired by the life of the authorís grandmother and great-aunt. Despite the grim subject, this book reads like a nail-biting survival adventure. The sistersí love for each other and their hope in a better future are inspiring, as is their knowledge of the natural world. I'm always a sucker for survival stories and Alaska history, but the pace is quick and adventure exciting enough to entice any reader not just genre fans. I recommend it wholeheartedly to any adult or teen, but donít miss the opportunity to read it with your upper-elementary aged child if they are ready to grasp the themes. If they can't get enough of the "Hunger Games" try giving them some reality.
Recommended by Amelia